Let the Thanksgiving Countdown Begin — Don't Panic! (2 Weeks Away)

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It's already the middle of November, and Thanksgiving has snuck up on you yet again — despite landing on the same Thursday every year. Not to worry: We've drawn up a nifty do-ahead guide to help you get organized from now until November 24. Check back with us as we lead you into Turkey Day, helping you with everything from apple pie to Zinfandel.

While it may be too soon to get a jump-start on roasting the turkey, two weeks still gives you plenty of lead time to plan your best — and least stressful — holiday feast yet. It's all about setting the wheels in motion.

Get a final head count: Invite the extended family members, old high school friends, in-laws and neighbors that usually gather around your table and figure out exactly how many hungry guests you'll be cooking for this year.

Order the bird ahead of time: Since it's arguably the main event of your Thanksgiving dinner, you don't want any last-minute snafus with the turkey. Assume you'll need a turkey big enough for about 2 pounds per adult and 1 pound per child (this will ensure leftovers), and order it ahead of time from your local supermarket, butcher or specialty farm.

Start planning the menu: It's time to drag out all those old November issues of food magazines and torn-out recipes you've been hoarding and get inspired. Maybe this will be the year you mix in some new, experimental dishes along with your family's tried-and-true favorites. Or then again, maybe not (if you're like us, you have some staunch traditionalists at your table).

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